This was announced by both SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary at a press conference in Lucknow on Tuesday. The party will contest from three Lok Sabha seats, up from the two it was left with when Mayawati and Akhilesh had announced their alliance in January.
The additional seat that has gone to RLD comes from the Samajwadi Party’s kitty. The SP will contest from 37 seats in Uttar Pradesh while the BSP will contest from 38. UP, the most electorally crucial state in the country, sends 80 lawmakers to the Lok Sabha.
“Rashtriya Lok Dal will join the BSP-SP alliance in Uttar Pradesh. Our workers will work hard to ensure victory of the alliance on all seats of the state,” Jayant Chaudhary said at the press conference.
Chaudhary thanked Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati for accommodating the RLD in the grand alliance. “I am really happy that today we also got blessings of Neta Ji Mulayam Singh Yadav. I would like to tell all my party workers that respected Akhilesh Ji and respected Behen Ji have accommodated RLD and I hope our party workers will ensure win of the alliance on all the 80 seats in the state. We will be fighting with our symbol on three seats while on rest of the seats we will support the grand alliance.”
The party will contest from Baghpat, Mathura and Muzaffarnagar. RLD supremo Ajit Singh had earlier told reporters that he is likely to contest from his stronghold Baghpat and his son Jayant Chaudhary will once again contest from Mathura.
Yadav said he was happy that Jayant Chuadhary has joined hands with SP and BSP. “This is the biggest alliance of UP and everyone has come together to change the current sad situation of farmers, businessmen and the common man. This is an alliance of ideologies. We hope that the country will get new Prime Minister in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha Polls.”
He also claimed that the Congress, too, is a part of the mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh. “Congress is with us, it is a part of our alliance. Why do you (media) repeatedly ask if Congress will come with us or not? I have said before also that Congress is part of Mahagatbandhan, they will contest on 2 seats in our alliance,” he said.
The SP and BSP had left just Amethi and Rae Bareli, which are held by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, for the grand old party, prompting it to contest the elections on its own.
When the SP and BSP had announced the tie-up last month, Mayawati had explained that one issue with getting the Congress on board was that the party had “no real vote transfer”.
There had been speculation that Priyanka Gandhi’s entry into the arena had prompted rethink in the SP and BSP camps, but Mayawati’s repeated attacks on the Congress in the last one month have poured cold water over the rumours.